Spanish dad accused of murdering twins in SA denied bail

2017-09-28 15:54
Mario-César Deus Yela (File, Facebook)

Mario-César Deus Yela (File, Facebook)

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Cape Town – A former dentist and Spanish national, accused of the "gruesome" killing of his twin children, was denied bail in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

"The applicant will likely pose an increased flight risk and threat to his former spouse," Magistrate Goolam Bawa said in his ruling on Mario-César Deus Yela's bail application.

He added that Yela, 49, had no real ties to South Africa and that there was no extradition agreement with Spain.

The court was of the view that the State had a strong prima facie case.

Yela had not taken the court into his confidence by shedding light on what had happened at the rented holiday home in Hout Bay on April 6, Bawa said.

He described the killings as "gruesome", and said the charges were serious.

The tall Yela towered over proceedings as he stood in the dock, clutching a black book that resembled a Bible, along with a concealed photo for a bookmark.

In attempting to prove that it was in the interests of justice that he be released on bail, Yela had included in his application photos of himself with his three children, which included the three-year-old twins, Maximo and Octavia.

The specialist consultant had also included numerous character references.

Yela indicated that he intended pleading not guilty to charges of murder, assault and theft of a motor vehicle.

'He wanted her to feel as bad as he does'

A psychiatric team found he had a past history of depression and anxiety, and had previously suffered blackouts under stress.

He was considered to be depressed, however, fears of a suicide attempt had alleviated.

Bawa detailed the State’s case.

Yela arrived in March to visit his children, and had found a holiday home and au pair, so they could spend time with him.

On April 6, he dropped his eldest off at school.

"At 07:40, the applicant and minor twins were involved in a collision. The circumstances are suspicious and still under investigation," Bawa read out, adding that the vehicle was damaged extensively.

Yela apparently turned down medical treatment for himself and the twins, and they were dropped back at the rental home.

The State believes he had dismissed the au pair because he had wanted to spend his last day with the children.

His ex-wife, Julia Engelhorn, was called to the apartment and arrived around 12:30.

"He allegedly informed his wife that 'he wanted her to feel as bad as he does'," said Bawa.

Found bodies of twins on a bed

He apparently threatened to kill her with a kitchen knife. She asked about the twins and was allegedly told they were dead.

She then found their bodies on a bed in an upstairs bedroom.

Yela allegedly threatened to kill her, before locking her in the room. 

Security footage showed Engelhorn’s car leaving the complex. She had jumped out of the upstairs window, and then had called police.

Her twins were declared dead around 14:00. About five minutes later, Yela was arrested on the M3 after a brief pursuit.

Prosecutor Louise Friester-Sampson said they planned to reconstruct the accident scene in November, with the sun "in the same position", to determine whether Yela had been reckless.

The murder investigation was almost complete and the High Court indictment was being drafted.

The defence objected to Yela being unnecessarily kept in custody for a long time.

Bawa subsequently turned down the State’s request for a long postponement because of the reconstruction, as Yela did not yet face a charge relating to the accident.

The case was postponed to October 27.

Read more on:    cape town  |  courts

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